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A new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund highlighted the benefits of connecting Phoenix and Tucson with passenger rail. The report, Connecting Phoenix and Tucson: The Benefits of Intercity Rail in the Sun Corridor, estimates that the economic benefits of intercity rail include: expanding labor market access for businesses, creating at least 30,000 job-years of employment, boosting local economies, and ensuring that the Phoenix-Tucson area remains attractive to young people, who increasingly prefer alternatives to driving.
“As Arizona continues to grow, it is crystal clear that we need transportation options beyond freeways,” said Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Intercity rail can provide considerable benefits for Arizona’s economy and quality of life.”
Connecting Phoenix and Tucson also focuses on the significant financial benefits that intercity rail would provide for its riders. The report estimates that over 30 years, rail passengers would save $750 million by reducing the amount of money spent on the costs of operating a private vehicle. Train riders also would save approximately $150 million worth of economically productive time.
“For Arizona to be economically competitive, our state needs a transportation infrastructure that includes intercity rail,” said Unrein. “Intercity rail also will allow people commuting between our largest cities to spend their time more productively.”
“In a very short amount of time, Arizona has made significant steps to making intercity rail a dynamic reality,” said Shannon Scutari, a top transportation advisor for two Arizona governors, who spearheaded the creation of Arizona’s first State Rail Plan. “States like Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are now seeing the benefits of rail, and Arizona needs to continue moving forward if we are to be nationally and globally competitive.”
“As the epicenter of the Sun Corridor, Pinal County’s growth projections for the next 50 years are staggering.” said Pinal County Supervisor David Snider. “We need transportation alternatives such as intercity rail to accommodate this exponential growth and break out of the sprawling development patterns that contribute to our boom and bust economy.”
“Intercity rail has been discussed for decades in Arizona, and it’s clearly an investment that would bring a lot of benefits to our state. Arizona’s leaders need to make sure that this train gets built,” said State Representative Steve Farley.
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